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CODE OF

SAFE WORKING PRACTICE
FOR
AUSTRALIAN SEAFARERS

Code of Safe Working Practice for Australian Seafarers

 Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Published by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority 1999

ISBN
This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 and as stated below, no part
may be reproduced without prior written permission from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to the Manager, Public Relations,
AMSA, GPO Box 2181, Canberra 2601.
In the interests of safety, permission is given to unlimited photocopying or other reproduction for use in training
persons involved in the maritime industry.

Date of Issue: 16 November 1999

Code of Safe Working Practice for Australian Seafarers

SUGGESTIONS
AMSA would appreciate any suggestions/comments that you feel would enhance the use of this
Code of Practice. Please contact AMSA on 1800 021 098 or write your suggestion on the page
below and fax to (02) 6279 5966.

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Date of issue: 16 November 1999

Code of Safe Working Practice for Australian Seafarers

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Date of Issue: 16 November 1999

Code of Safe Working Practice for Australian Seafarers

FOREWORD
Safety in the workplace is now one of the most important considerations of any
organisation and particularly so in the maritime industry which operates in such an
inhospitable environment.
Mariners work in remote locations, at all hours, with limited access to health services and
support. In other words, they must protect themselves and must set out with a realistic
approach to health and safety.
The need for a safety culture backed up by safe systems of work is absolutely imperative.
This first edition of The Code of Safe Working Practice for Australian Seafarers, a
companion to The Australian Offshore Support Vessel Code of Safe Working Practice,
released by AMSA in 1997, provides broad guidance for the minimum requirements for
protecting seafarers’ health and safety.
The code incorporates international standards with specific Australian occupational
health and safety work practices. It covers seafarers, contractors and other persons on
board ships to which the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act
applies.
AMSA is indebted to the members of the industry working group which contributed their
valuable time to producing this code.
I commend its use to the industry.

Clive Davidson
Chief Executive
Australian Maritime Safety Authority

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Date of issue: 16 November 1999

Code of Safe Working Practice for Australian Seafarers

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND INTRODUCTION

This Code is an adaptation of the ILO code of practice entitled Accident prevention on board
ship at sea and in port (copyright  1996 International Labour Organisation) and is reproduced
by permission.
A Committee established under the auspices of the Seacare Authority and chaired by AMSA
adapted this code. AMSA wishes to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of those involved
in its production.
This code of practice is approved pursuant to section 109 of the Occupational Health and Safety
(Maritime Industry) Act, for the purposes of providing practical guidance to operators.
DISCLAIMER
Responsibility for the adaptation as well as any omissions or errors rests solely with the
Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
The use of this Code does not affect the responsibility of the ship operator to operate safely and
to observe statutory requirements, or of any person to exercise the normal duty of care.

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1

GENERAL PROVISIONS .............................................................................................. 1
1.1 Objective ......................................................................................................................... 1
1.2 Application ...................................................................................................................... 1
1.3 General definitions........................................................................................................... 1

2

GENERAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES ......................................................... 4
2.1
2.2
2.3
2.4
2.5

3

General duties and responsibilities of the shipowner ........................................................ 4
General duties and responsibilities of the master .............................................................. 7
General duties and responsibilities of seafarers................................................................. 9
General duties and responsibilities of the health and safety committee ........................... 10
General duties and responsibilities of health and safety representatives .......................... 11

REPORTING OF ACCIDENTS................................................................................... 13
3.1 General provisions ......................................................................................................... 13

4

PERMIT-TO-WORK SYSTEMS................................................................................. 14
4.1 General provisions ......................................................................................................... 14

5

GENERAL SHIPBOARD HEALTH AND SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS .............. 15
5.1 Shipboard housekeeping and personal health and hygiene.............................................. 15
5.2 Use of chemicals............................................................................................................ 16
5.3 Fire prevention............................................................................................................... 17
5.3.1 Smoking ................................................................................................................. 17
5.3.2 Electrical and other fittings ..................................................................................... 17
5.3.3 Laundry and wet clothing........................................................................................ 18
5.3.4 Spontaneous combustion......................................................................................... 18
5.3.5 Galleys.................................................................................................................... 18
5.4 Working clothes and personal protective equipment....................................................... 18
5.4.1 General ................................................................................................................... 18
5.4.2 Head protection....................................................................................................... 19
5.4.3 Hearing protection .................................................................................................. 20
5.4.4 Face and eye protection........................................................................................... 20
5.4.5 Sun protection......................................................................................................... 20
5.4.6 Respiratory protective equipment............................................................................ 20
5.4.7 Hand and foot protection......................................................................................... 21
5.4.8 Protection from falls................................................................................................ 21
5.5 Signs, notices and colour codes...................................................................................... 21

6

SHIPBOARD EMERGENCIES AND EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT....................... 23
6.1
6.2
6.3
6.4
6.5

General provisions ......................................................................................................... 23
Fire-fighting equipment, drills and training .................................................................... 23
Abandon ship drills and training..................................................................................... 25
Man overboard and rescue at sea.................................................................................... 26
Other drills..................................................................................................................... 27

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7

CARRIAGE OF DANGEROUS GOODS .................................................................... 28
7.1 General Provisions ......................................................................................................... 28
7.2 Special precautions ........................................................................................................ 29
7.3 Additional sources of information .................................................................................. 30

8

SAFE ACCESS TO SHIP ............................................................................................. 32
8.1
8.2
8.3
8.4

9

Means of access to ship.................................................................................................. 32
Ship's accommodation ladders and gangways................................................................. 33
Pilot embarkation and disembarkation............................................................................ 33
Transport of persons by water ........................................................................................ 34

SAFE MOVEMENT ABOUT THE SHIP.................................................................... 35
9.1
9.2
9.3
9.4
9.5
9.6
9.7

10

General provisions ......................................................................................................... 35
Passageways and walkways ........................................................................................... 35
Watertight doors ............................................................................................................ 35
Lighting ......................................................................................................................... 36
Protection around cargo hatches and other deck openings............................................... 36
Access to holds and other deck spaces............................................................................ 37
Drainage ........................................................................................................................ 37

ENTERING AND WORKING IN ENCLOSED OR CONFINED SPACES .............. 38
10.1 General....................................................................................................................... 38
10.2 Precautions on entering confined spaces ..................................................................... 39
10.3 Duties and responsibilities of a competent person and of a responsible officer ............ 39
10.4 Preparing and securing the space for entry.................................................................. 40
10.5 Testing the atmosphere of confined and enclosed spaces............................................. 40
10.6 Use of a permit-to-work system.................................................................................. 41
10.7 Procedures and arrangements before entry.................................................................. 41
10.8 Procedures and arrangements during entry.................................................................. 42
10.9 Additional requirements for entry into a space where the atmosphere is suspect or
known to be unsafe .............................................................................................................. 42
10.10 Breathing apparatus and resuscitation equipment ........................................................ 43
10.11 Maintenance of equipment and training ...................................................................... 43

11

MANUAL LIFTING AND CARRYING ...................................................................... 45
11.1 General provisions...................................................................................................... 45

12

TOOLS AND MATERIALS ......................................................................................... 47
12.1
12.2
12.3
12.4
12.5
12.6
12.7
12.8

General provisions...................................................................................................... 47
Hand tools .................................................................................................................. 47
Portable electric, pneumatic and hydraulic tools ......................................................... 47
Workshop and bench machines (fixed installations).................................................... 48
Abrasive wheels ......................................................................................................... 48
Spirit lamps ................................................................................................................ 49
Compressed air ........................................................................................................... 49
Compressed gas cylinders........................................................................................... 49

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13

WELDING FLAME-CUTTING AND OTHER HOT WORK ................................... 51
13.1
13.2
13.3
13.4
13.5
13.6

14

General provisions...................................................................................................... 51
Personal protective equipment .................................................................................... 51
Precautions against fire, explosions and non-life supporting environments ................. 51
Electric welding equipment ........................................................................................ 52
Precautions to be taken during electric-arc welding..................................................... 52
Flame-cutting and brazing .......................................................................................... 53

PAINTING..................................................................................................................... 54
14.1 General provisions...................................................................................................... 54
14.2 Spray painting ............................................................................................................ 54
14.3 Painting aloft and working over the side ..................................................................... 54

15

WORKING ALOFT AND OVER THE SIDE ............................................................. 55
15.1
15.2
15.3
15.4
15.5
15.6
15.7

16

General provisions...................................................................................................... 55
Cradles and stages ...................................................................................................... 56
Bosun's chairs (Swing chair)....................................................................................... 56
Ropes ......................................................................................................................... 56
Portable ladders and scaffolding ................................................................................. 56
Rope ladders............................................................................................................... 57
Working over the side from punts............................................................................... 57

WORKING WITH ELECTRICITY AND ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT................ 58
16.1
16.2
16.3
16.4
16.5
16.6
16.7

General provisions...................................................................................................... 58
Wandering leads, portable lights, electric tools and other movable equipment ............ 61
High-voltage systems ................................................................................................. 62
Rectifiers and electronic equipment ............................................................................ 62
Radio communication equipment................................................................................ 62
Batteries and battery rooms......................................................................................... 63
Work with visual display units (VDUs) including microcomputers............................. 64

17 WORKING WITH DANGEROUS AND IRRITATING SUBSTANCES AND
RADIATIONS ........................................................................................................................ 65
17.1
17.2
17.3
17.4
17.5
17.6
17.7
17.8
18

General provisions...................................................................................................... 65
Work with unsaturated polyesters ............................................................................... 65
Work with adhesives .................................................................................................. 65
Removing insulation, paint and other coatings ............................................................ 65
Work with asbestos .................................................................................................... 66
Work with man-made mineral fibres........................................................................... 66
Radio and radar installations....................................................................................... 66
Ionising radiation........................................................................................................ 66

UPKEEP OF WIRE AND FIBRE ROPES................................................................... 67
18.1 General provisions...................................................................................................... 67
18.2 Wire ropes.................................................................................................................. 67
18.3 Fibre ropes ................................................................................................................. 68

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Code of Safe Working Practice for Australian Seafarers

19

ANCHORING, DOCKING AND MOORING............................................................. 70
19.1
19.2
19.3
19.4
19.5

20

General provisions...................................................................................................... 70
Anchoring .................................................................................................................. 70
Characteristics of man-made fibre ropes used for mooring or towing .......................... 70
Mooring and unmooring ............................................................................................. 71
Mooring to buoys ....................................................................................................... 71

WORKING ON DECK OR IN CARGO SPACES ...................................................... 73
20.1 General provisions...................................................................................................... 73
20.2 Cargo operations......................................................................................................... 73
20.3 Lifting gear................................................................................................................. 74
20.4 Use of Slings .............................................................................................................. 75
20.5 Pulley blocks .............................................................................................................. 76
20.6 Hooks......................................................................................................................... 76
20.7 Shackles ..................................................................................................................... 76
20.8 Working on deck while ship is at sea .......................................................................... 77
20.9 Heavy weather............................................................................................................ 77
20.10 Working in hatches and holds ..................................................................................... 77

21

WORKING IN MACHINERY SPACES...................................................................... 79
21.1 General provisions...................................................................................................... 79
21.2 Boilers, unfired pressure vessels and steam pipes........................................................ 82
21.3 Propulsion machinery ................................................................................................. 83
21.4 Turbines ..................................................................................................................... 83
21.5 Internal combustion engines ....................................................................................... 84
21.6 Air compressors and reservoirs ................................................................................... 84
21.7 Refrigeration systems ................................................................................................. 84
21.8 Oil-based systems....................................................................................................... 84
21.9 Steering gear .............................................................................................................. 85
21.10 Control-room operation and unattended machinery spaces.......................................... 85
21.11 Hydraulic systems ...................................................................................................... 85

22

WORKING IN GALLEYS, PANTRIES AND OTHER FOOD HANDLING AREAS..
........................................................................................................................................ 87
22.1 Loading and storing provisions ................................................................................... 87
22.2 Preparation of food..................................................................................................... 88
22.3 Work in galleys, pantries and serving food ................................................................. 89

23

SAFETY IN LIVING ACCOMMODATION .............................................................. 92
23.1
23.2
23.3
23.4
23.5

General provisions...................................................................................................... 92
Laundering appliances ................................................................................................ 93
Rooms furnished with equipment to improve or maintain physical fitness .................. 93
Swimming pools......................................................................................................... 93
Sewage systems.......................................................................................................... 93

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Code of Safe Working Practice for Australian Seafarers

24

SPECIFIC VESSEL TYPES ......................................................................................... 95
24.1
24.2
24.3
24.4
24.5
24.6
24.7
24.8
24.9

General provisions...................................................................................................... 95
Bulk carriers and carriage of bulk cargoes .................................................................. 96
Container ships........................................................................................................... 98
Ro-Ros and vehicle and passenger ferries ................................................................... 99
Oil Tankers............................................................................................................... 102
Bulk chemical tankers............................................................................................... 103
Liquefied natural and petroleum gas carriers............................................................. 104
Passenger vessels...................................................................................................... 104
Offshore support vessels........................................................................................... 107

REFERENCE LIST.............................................................................................................. 109
INDEX................................................................................................................................... 111

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Date of issue: 16 November 1999

Code of Safe Working Practice for Australian Seafarers

Date of Issue: 16 November 1999

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